North Berwick Golf Club in bid to deter public course invasion

Tourists have been picnicking and building sandcastles on North Berwick Golf Club. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
Tourists have been picnicking and building sandcastles on North Berwick Golf Club. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor
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One of Scotland’s most prestigious golf courses is being besieged with families picnicking on greens, toddlers building sandcastles in bunkers and surfers stripping off in the rough.

The North Berwick Golf Course in East Lothian is one of the best-known courses in the country - and is regularly used as a qualifying venue for The Open Championship.

But recently players at the £615-a-year course have been left shocked at the invasive behaviour of tourists visiting the popular seaside town.

Now the club has been forced to put up extra signage in a bid to deter the public from invading the course with their bizarre behaviour.

The club’s managing secretary, Christopher Spencer, said: “We are fortunate to be right on the coast and have terrific views but with that comes a problem with public access.

“We’ve had people come along and picnic on the greens and families with kids playing in bunkers and building sandcastles. Surfers have been getting naked and changed by the second fairway.

“We have even had people trying to pitch up camping right in front of the 13th green.”

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He also recounted an incident where the club professional was forced to ask one family to move from a bunker on the course but was called a “nasty man” who was coming to stop their child’s fun.

And he said that the course is being regularly used as a park for dogs - leaving the course covered in dog mess, and even putting animals and owners in danger.

He said: “We have one to four golfers teeing off every ten minutes on any given day here. If a member of the public was hit by a ball as they crossed a fairway, they could be very seriously injured.

“I was playing the other day and almost hit a dog that was running about on my downswing. If it had been a second later it could have been hit.

“Dogs should be kept on lead on the golf course at all times. All we ask is for them to respect their surroundings.

“You wouldn’t walk across a football or rugby match or a cricket game.”

North Berwick Golf Club is the 13th oldest in the world and was founded in 1832.

It has a waiting list of three years to join and a joining fee of £1230.

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